An engaging and insightful deep dive into the history of Lewiston Maine, The Unlikeliness of It All is written by native insider Phil Nadeau, a city official of almost two decades. Nadeau offers unique insight into the complex immigrant, political, socio-economic, and immigrant landscape, that influenced how the city was formed, and how it responded to the arrival of Somali refugees in 2001 and 2002.
Nadeauís narrative history explains how 150 years of immigration influenced the city's economic, social, and political trajectory. Lewiston and "twin city" Auburn made up a community where 70 percent of all early 20th century jobs local textile and shoe manufacturing industry jobs created the stateís largest economy. Over time, many immigrants and the city's predominantly French Canadian community worked through cultural, political, and religious discrimination to improve their lives while also confronting the reality of declining textile and shoe production in the 1950s.
After almost 50 years, many of the sons, daughters, and grandchildren of these first immigrants helped to transform the community through their collaborative and dogged determination to create a far more diversified local economy just as the first Somali refugees arrived in 2001. With the economic renaissance underway, the growing Somali population and how the city responded became a national and international news story that made global headlines. Nadeau uncovers little known and new information regarding notable historic moments, facts, people and explains how the cityís "global singularity" began with a world championship fight and why the eyes of the world remained fixated on this small Maine town's new Somali residents, a mayor's letter, and a rally against hate that drew over 4,000 people.
This book includes information regarding French Canadian Immigration, Lewiston Immigrant History, Lewiston Franco Americans, Somali Refugees, Immigrant Xenophobia, Secondary Migration Influences, Maineís First Refugee Resettlement, Lewiston Mill and Industrial History, and Lewiston's Economic Development History. Paperback; 570 pages.